Daughter of Lir

By Judith Tarr

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Forge, 2001

Genres: Fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction

Series: Epona; 3

ISBN: 9780312876166

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 415

Setting: City of Lir, Village of Long Ford, World’s End, Sea of Grass (open steppe)

Time period: Prehistory – Neolithic time period

Plot summary: When Rhian is born to the Mother in the City of Lir, there are some priestesses who want to kill her immediately.  The portents reveal a time of destruction and evil associated with her.  Rhian escapes an early death and grows up in a small village outside of the city, listening to what the wind tells her.  When the priestesses make their rounds, choosing young women to come to the temple, they disregard Rhian and her innate abilities.  It is then that Rhian chooses a different path for herself and the White Mare chooses her.  Rhian soon finds herself on a journey to the east to meet The People of the Wind, who are travelling west and conquering all of the people whom they encounter.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: In general, the story has a moderate pace.  Some parts move quite quickly, while others unfold more slowly.

Characterization: The story is told in third person from various perspectives.  Rhian’s perspective is primary in the beginning of the story.  Other perspectives come from Minas, Aera, and Emery.

Frame: The frame is set in the very beginning when Rhian is born.  The reader is introduced to the priestesses and the culture of the city and learns that Rhian will have a difficult  journey through life.

Story line: A finely crafted, prehistorical fantasy that includes a clash of cultures as well as two separate love stories.

Subject headings:

From Pima County Public Library:

Women prophets — Fiction

Goddess religion — Fiction

Prehistoric peoples — Fiction

Historical fiction.

Fantasy fiction

Similar works:

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

Foundation by Mercedes Lackey

The Horse Goddess by Morgan Llwelyn

The White Mare by Jules Watson

Personal notes:  I really enjoyed this book even though it took me a while to get through it.  I’m glad to have read something by Judith Tarr now, since she will be at the next Tucson Festival of Books.  She seems to be a very diverse writer and I imagine that I will read something by her again in the future.

Other: Diversity – priestesses, Mothers, daughter of the Mother, princes, kings, shamans, witch

Judith Tarr’s website

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